The Saffron Walden Beekeepers' Association Story


Our aim is to promote and support beekeeping in Saffron Walden and the surrounding areas. The division actively encourages new beekeepers and provides comprehensive advice and training, along with the support of many experienced beekeepers via a mentoring system.

For experienced beekeepers, the Saffron Walden Division provides mutual support, updates on techniques, access to equipment and on-going training opportunities.

Within this website you will find details on how to contact us, our forthcoming programme, future training, swarm control, newsletter downloads and equipment for purchase/sale

New Beekeeper training


SWBKA runs a comprehensive training course for those interested in becoming beekeepers or those ready to take the plunge and acquire a hive and some bees.

The course covers every aspect of beekeeping, including equipment, technique, the beekeeping year, honey extraction, diseases/pest, swarms/prevention and much, much more.

The course runs annually starting in February or March with three classroom sessions and continuing with four apiary sessions. The classroom sessions are held on a weekday evening in Thaxted. There is a choice of times and locations for the apiary sessions. The purpose of the course is to enable those attending to be able to manage a colony of bees on completing the course. Afterwards a bee buddy / mentor is assigned to those attending to provide support throughout the rest of the year. Further classes are offered to extend the training as beekeepers start their second year.

A ‘taster’ session is held during the latter part of each year summer for those considering taking our beginners course.  This will show you something of what is involved.  The date is in our programme.  

In recent years the course has been oversubscribed. A provisional list is kept until final details are published in December.



Promote the craft of beekeeping

Encourage new beekeepers

Provide mutual support

Updates on techniques

Access to loan equipment

On-going training opportunities

SWBKA History


Saffron Walden Beekeepers’ Association was one of the first Divisions of the Essex Beekeepers’ Association, founded in 1880. This was when beekeeping was moving from age of skeps to the recognisable modern wooden hive, most notably the white sloping roofed hive with stackable lifts, which was the iconic style of William Broughton Carr (WBC).

An application was made by Saffron Walden Beekeepers’ Association for affiliation to the Essex Beekeepers’ Association on ‘co-operative lines’ in 1919 along with two other groups.   These were the days when there were special reduced rates for ‘cottagers and labourers’ and of the dreaded Isle of Wight disease which decimated bee stocks in the country. We were one of five Divisions in the new constitution of Essex Beekeepers as it reformed its constitution in 1939.  Currently we are one of the largest divisions out of the nine, having well over 100 members. 


We have some of the most experienced and well-qualified beekeepers in the county.  Our representation at the County Show can be traced back to 1889 and we remain very active in the Essex Honey Show winning cups for honey, candles, honey cooking etc. as well as the coveted President’s Cup for the most points in the county in recent years.